Basic Ukulele Chords #1: The C Chord
C is the easiest chord to learn on the ukulele. Moreover, it’s your “home base” when playing a song, meaning you should always end a song with this chord to make it feel complete.
Use your ring finger (3rd finger) and place it on the 3rd fret of the bottom string (1st string).
Once your ring finger is in place, strum downward while counting 1-2-3-4.
After repeating this a few times, you are already ready to play a simple tune.
Basic ukulele chords #2: F
F uses 2 fingers: the index and middle.
A few tips:
- Round your fingers. This will prevent them from blocking the other strings.
- Use your finger tips. Avoid flattening your fingers and playing on the finger print.
- Test your chord by playing each string alone. This will allow you to see if your fingers are well positioned. If some notes are blocked, try adjusting your position until they sound clean.
Switch between: F – C
Changing from one chord to another fluidly is important. The following exercise will help you practise changing from the F to the C chord.
You’ll soon be able to switch between the F and the C chords with a quick and fluid “hop.”
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Play Yellow Submarine by the Beatles on the Ukulele
We are now ready to play Yellow Submarine. The chorus of this song uses the F and C chord.
Step 1: Play the chords in the right order for 4 counts per measure.
Step 2: Sing the lyrics while matching your voice to the pitches of the melody (see the end of the video above). *It’s important to sing on key and doing this is a great way to train your ear.
Step 3: Combine singing with the chords.
The Am chord should be played using your middle or second finger. *as a general rule the 1 finger (index) should be used for the first fret. Similarly, the second finger (middle) should be used for the second fret.
- Count 1,2,3,4 while playing this chord.
- Round your middle finger and play on the tip (not the print).
The last of our basic ukulele chords is is the G. It utilizes 3 fingers, so it can a little challenging at first.
- If you are having difficulty getting all the notes to sound, try placing one finger at a time, and testing the sound of the string, before placing your other fingers.
- Some notes may be blocked because your fingers are not rounded and you are not playing on the tip of your fingers.
- Notice how close your fingers are to the frets. Bring them as close as possible to the frets (without touching them).
- Finally, practise playing the chord while couting 1,2,3,4 over and over.
The next challenge is to practise switching chords. We’ll work on switching from C to G.
Lead with your ring finger, then place your other fingers. The reason being that your ring finger is the slowest finger. Therefore, you need to focus more attention on that finger.
You now know how to play the 4 basic ukulele chords! Congratulations. The next step is learn some interesting strumming patterns to make the chords sound more interesting.
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